The Blueprint Communities* program was created by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh (FHLBank) in 2005 to support the development of local leadership, collaboration across sectors, and strategic planning to make a lasting impact on the economic well being and quality of life for residents. In 2007, our team at The Hub began administering this program in West Virginia with generous support from FHLBank. While working alongside our community coaches from The Hub, 21 West Virginia-based communities have graduated from this program.
Blueprint Communities teams commit to build a shared vision developed by local residents and create a “blueprint” master plan to structure their local community development strategies and initiatives, and to kickstart local projects. We connect these teams with community coaching and expert training that equips them with the skills and resources they need to achieve the goals outlined in their community revitalization strategy.
After graduating from the program, Blueprint Communities earn a 10-year official designation from FHLBank that opens the door to more funding and resource opportunities.
Blueprint Communities teams create plans and learn the kinds of skills that enable them to make real movement toward successfully completing large-scale community projects with significant impact. Community teams focus on building the kinds of strategic plans that will form the foundation of community growth for years to come. Diverse stakeholders such as municipal leaders, nonprofit organizations, local banks, and real estate specialists form learn how to work impactfully both as a team and with the input of their fellow residents.
They build the kinds of institutionalized support networks that lead to lasting change. Some Blueprint Communities teams have chosen to create nonprofit organizations and hire full-time staff to grow their capacity to implement initiatives and plans in their communities.
Participants increase their knowledge and skill sets as well as develop new relationships that enable them to strategically grow resources and funding to advance projects. Although this program is largely focused on building the skills and soliciting community input to create effective plans, the most recent graduating cohort of communities was able to leverage more than $100,000 in additional funding while participating in the program.
For more wins and milestones coming out of the Blueprint Communities program, see our “Stories” section below.
This program is for residents who are enthusiastic about making positive change in their community and are able to form a team of diverse partners (nonprofit organizations, municipal leaders, local banks, real estate specialists, and others) prior to the start of the program. Residents will collectively plan for, and gain skills relating to, often-times complex community initiatives.
If your goal is to mobilize a team of residents, focus your efforts, and develop and gain the skills to execute an action plan for a big project in your community, this program may be a good fit for you. If your community has an organization that is leading or should lead this type of downtown or community development work, but needs added capacity to be able to rise to challenges, this program offers capacity building support.
This program typically occurs every 5 years in West Virginia and is contingent upon the FHLBank of Pittsburgh’s funding and programming. The last application process took place in 2019.
Contact program lead Kaycie Stushek about interest in the program and with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Blueprint Communities team of Lewis County has made a major move in increasing capacity and moving forward projects in their community.
The work of community entrepreneurship and democracy often encompasses the work of matchmaking. This was the goal of the newly launched Fulcrum Project, a collaboration between the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design and The Hub, funded by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.
Our biggest success through our participation in the Blueprint Communities Program was engaging community members from across Lewis County.
Yes, it’s been an unbelievably crazy year, and yes, you’d think a city probably couldn’t make much progress during this time, but Parsons defied all odds.
Remember those connect the dot games? It was amazing to watch your creation appear as you connected those dots in the correct numerical order. Was it a butterfly? A spider? Or maybe an octopus?